Blood Runners: Minnesota State Patrol, Red Cross partner to save lives

Image 1 of 2

Minutes – even seconds – count when you’re trying to get blood to those in emergency situations.

There’s a plan in place between hospitals, the Red Cross and the Minnesota State Patrol to make sure the blood gets there in time.

The Red Cross blood manufacturing lab in St. Paul is open around the clock, and the product is always on the move.

“The need for blood is constant,” said Sue Thesenga, Communications Manager with the Red Cross.

But sometimes, those blood shipments need to move a lot faster. 

“Many times it’s between life and death. I mean, minutes can make a difference for someone who needs life-saving blood,” she said.

When those emergencies happen – a major accident or unexpected blood loss in surgery, for example – the Red Cross phones a friend.

“When you’re a patient, the blood just shows up magically when you need it, but how it gets there is an interesting story and the state patrol plays a big role in that story,” said Colonel Matt Langer, Chief of the Minnesota State Patrol.

The state patrol makes those blood runs with lights and sirens to help move things along. 

“Sometimes it can be a short run, other times it can be a run all across Minnesota where troopers actually leap frog that blood to its final destination to the patient that needs it,” Chief Langer said.

Trooper Daniil Poptelecan has made many of those blood runs. The patrol averages about five a month, but so far this year, they’ve had 12.

“The biggest challenge we have in that situation is time. Everything has to be done exactly the right way, which is the reason why there’s multiple pieces involved in the relay,” Poptelecan said.

It’s a reminder that you never know where troopers are heading on any given day – 
but they’ll be there when you need them.

“We’re here for the public, we’re here to help them, and that’s the reason why we put on the uniform,” Poptelecan said. 

Officials say most of the blood runs happen outside of the metro, where it would take a lot longer to transport if the state patrol wasn’t involved.

To learn how to donate blood, click here.